New Health Task Force in Malaita

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Participants at the two-day workshop held in Auki. Photo: William Ekotani/World Vision.

A new Provincial Health Task Force has been established last week by World Vision stakeholders in Auki, Malaita Province. This followed a two-day workshop on Health Systems Strengthening, conducted by World Vision officers in Auki.

The Solomon Islands Health Systems Strengthening Project (SIHSSP) is a World Vision initiative supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Corporation Program (ANCP) with the aim to strengthen primary healthcare systems in targeted communities in the country.

World Vision Community Development Facilitator for South Malaita, Francis Fa’alimae, displaying
the project details. Photo: William Ekotani/World Vision.

The project is anticipated to garner support from the national and provincial governments towards World Vision’s village health volunteer model; ensure that health clinics are equipped to provide primary healthcare services including adequate water and toilet facilities; encourage community contribution to improved accountability of delivery of primary healthcare services; and nurses and village health volunteers being trained and equipped to conduct effective primary healthcare outreach programs and interventions in communities, including health monitoring and referrals.

With the project being rolled out in South Malaita, covering five communities and five health facilities, the aim of the newly established Provincial Health Task Force is to work closely with these communities and health facilities.

Sector Portfolio Manager for the project, Patricia Keniherea, explained that the core function of the task force is to support and guide village health volunteer policy inclusion into the health system and to provide support for activities under the project outcomes as all the activities are linked together for the improvement of primary health care systems.

Meanwhile, reflecting on the project workshop that ensued the task force establishment, Community-based Rehabilitation officer from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Kate Sade, said she was enlightened.

“By now, I can work together with World Vision, nurses and village health volunteers. What I’ll do now is to work together with the project and provincial stakeholders to promote healthy living standards in rural communities as well as Malaita Province and the country as a whole.” She said plans are in place to work closely with nurses and village health volunteers.

Solomon Islands Malaita Provincial Health Director, Dr. Hendry Kako believed the project will result in positive contributions by filling in staffing and training gaps at the community level. He said the project will go a long way.

With World Vision’s support, this project will go a long way to benefit communities, especially in terms of Community Voice and Action as it is vital that people have a say in what they receive. This allows people in the communities to have a say in the services they receive. Hence, with our cooperation and working together, this project will go a long way and will be successful not only in the targeted communities but also in the country,” Dr. Kako said. He also thanked World Vision for conducting the two-day workshop on the project.

SIHSSP Sector Portfolio Manager, Patricia Keniherea presenting at the two-day workshop held in
Auki. Photo: William Ekotani/World Vision.

Deputy provincial secretary for Malaita province, Robert Wale, said as a major stakeholder Malaita province is keen to implement the project.

“With the kind of commitment and support that we have in implementing this project, we can archive our goals by having strong primary healthcare systems in South Malaita, Central Islands and Makira, and I am happy that Malaita is one of the identified provinces. The Malaita provincial government and its people are thankful for the Australian Government in supporting this project and World Vision as implementers,” he said.

Acknowledging health as the country’s most essential service, Mr. Wale encouraged current and future provincial and national governments to support such projects to be implemented across the country. The Solomon Islands Health Systems Strengthening Project is currently rolled out in South Malaita, Makira and Central Islands.